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Romania as an automotive innovation hub: Porsche Engineering opens its second R&D location

Porsche Engineering opens second automotive innovation location in Romania
Image credit: Porsche Engineering opens second tech location in Romania, in Timisoara;
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Porsche Engineering, the technology service provider and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Porsche, has chosen Timisoara to open its second research and development site in Romania. The goal is to expand its network of innovation centers for developing the vehicles of the future: smart and connected cars. For Romania, this is another vote of confidence and investment in its potential to nurture high-tech automotive innovation projects.

“Five years ago, when we first came to Romania, we were impressed by the creativity, flexibility, and fast-learning ability of the people we met. We are happy to further tap into this potential,” Dirk Lappe, Chief Technology Officer at Porsche Engineering, said in the press release.

As an innovation philosophy, Porsche Engineering combines the latest technology in terms of software, functions, and features, with automotive expertise to create smarter, more efficient, and user-friendly cars. Following their success in Cluj-Napoca, the company selected Timisoara for its high-tech focus in both academia and industry. 

For the local community in Timisoara, this will create at least 50 new jobs in the automotive tech industry in 2021 and around 200 in the midterm. Opportunities will arise primarily in software development and testing, with a focus on trends such as automated driving functions, machine learning, virtual energy management, and intelligent body and cockpit. The management team at Porsche Engineering is particularly excited about the opportunities presented by the city’s technical universities and plans to connect with the Timisoara Polytechnical University and the West University of Timisoara for common projects.

“When I took office, I said that Timișoara has a lot to offer to companies willing to invest in clean and durable technologies. The municipality will always be open to investors that see the great potential that this city has,” Dominic Fritz, the Mayor of Timisoara, said, quoted in the press release.

Romania’s potential as a automotive innovation hub

This year, Ford announced it is investing $300M to make a new light commercial vehicle at its Craiova facility in Romania starting 2023. One year later, the company will also debut its first all-electric vehicle here. Craiova thus follows Ford’s other two locations, aimed at building all-electric cars, the Cologne Electrified Vehicle Centre in Germany and the Otosan’s Kocaeli plant in Turkey. With this expansion, Ford’s overall investment in its manufacturing operations in Romania since 2008 approaches $2B.

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“Ford’s Craiova operations have a strong record of delivering world-class competitiveness and flexibility. Our plan to build this new light commercial vehicle in Romania reflects our continuing positive partnership with local suppliers and the community, as well as the success of the entire Ford Craiova team,” Stuart Rowley, president at Ford of Europe, said when announcing the project.

Romanian carmaker Dacia, part of the French Group Renault, has also started the production of its first electric model. Dacia Spring opened pre-orders back in March 2021 for the Comfort Plus model at the most affordable price for EVs in the European market: 18.1K full price or 7.7K subsidized. 

Back in 2018, German engineering and electronics company Bosch Engineering also seized Romania’s potential as an R&D center. The company invested 30M in an engineering center headquartered in Cluj-Napoca, which was finalized in 2020. The center develops software, hardware, and mechanical engineering products in areas such as autonomous driving, electric vehicles, and the Internet of Things.

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Antoanela is a Sustainability Communications Specialist and Deputy Editor at The Recursive media. From these roles, she is helping organizations communicate their latest sustainability goals, strategies, and technologies. She writes about climate tech, ESG, impact investment, sustainability regulation, and related topics.